Inverse.com – Red meat has a bad reputation.
From its impacts on climate change to its effects on health, it’s clear eating red meat comes with serious consequences.
However, research from scientists at the University of California San Francisco published Tuesday suggests that white meat has gotten off too easy.
The results of a randomized controlled trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that that red meat and white meat both increased the amount of low-density lipoprotein more than plant-based diets.
LDLs are commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it can contribute to buildup in the arteries.
While the overall effect of meat on cholesterol in this study is in line with earlier findings, lead author Dr. Robert Krauss expected to find that red meat had a greater effect on cholesterol than white meat.
But his statistics said otherwise: There was no meaningful difference on LDLs after participants ate red-meat heavy diets or white-meat heavy diets.
Krauss tells Inverse that this isn’t a reason for red-meat lovers to rejoice. Both diets, he says, pale in comparison to a plant-based diet when it comes to health.
But white meat, he says, is certainly no workaround for heart health. He says:
“Our new finding was that LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) was the same with both red meat and white meat, and the level was lower with plant-based protein. So the result can be viewed as indicating either a cholesterol-raising effect of the meats, a cholesterol-lowering effect of plant foods, or both.”
Red meat has links to cardiovascular disease, and now, a randomized controlled trial shows that white meat too may contribute its own risks.
The findings regarding white meat — especially poultry — may seem counterintuitive, especially as studies that implicate red meat often note that poultry seems to pose less of a health risk.
For example, a 2010 study published in Circulation (and cited by Krauss) showed that one serving of poultry per day was associated with a 19 percent lower risk of heart disease compared with the risk posed by one serving per day of red meat … Read more.